EU-nationals do not need a student visa to enter Germany. However, you need to register with the local authorities (Bezirksamt) within one week after your arrival in Germany.
Non EU nationals
In order to enter Germany for the purpose of studying you need to apply for a student visa (Studentenvisum). You are recommended to enquire about visa formalities at a very early stage of your preparations for a stay abroad at the nearest embassy/ consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany. The visa application takes at least two months to be completed.
You can apply for a student visa at the German embassy/ consulate in your home country as soon as you receive your letter of admission from the University of Duisburg-Essen. Alternatively, you may enquire about application requirements for a study applicant’s visa (Studienbewerber-Visum) which allows prospective students to come to Germany without a fixed study place. Mostly this type of visa is granted to students who need to obtain admission requirements (e.g. German language course). Please contact the German embassy or consulate in order to find out what is the best solution for you.
As a rule, you receive a student visa for three months which has to be extended after your arrival in Germany. Please contact the Foreigners Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) during the first days after your arrival in order to obtain a residence permit. You also need to go to the Foreigners Registration Office if you come with a study applicant visa (Studienbewerber-Visum).
Please do not come to Germany on a tourist visa as it cannot be altered into a student visa!